You will have already realised how important your website is to your business, and how integral your website is to your digital marketing plan. Your website is your first digital impression. It is meant to reflect everything you want potential (and existing) clients to know about your business and services.
However, it's not as simple as getting a website designed and published. Successful businesses are always improving the quality of their websites over the years, and making sure they continue to meet the needs of the end user.
Here are some things that your website must have in 2017, in order for it to continue being a benefit to your business and your marketing strategy.
1. Responsive Design
Google announced that they will be indexing the mobile versions of pages rather than the desktop versions of pages, as its primary index.
"The search engine already promotes sites that work well on mobile devices over ones that don’t, a change introduced in April 2015." - The Guardian
The change is not really a surprise for those of us within the industry, as mobile search is on the rise over desktop search and has been an upward trend over the last couple of years.
At Toolkit Websites we have a Responsive Platform meaning that we can deliver websites that respond to the screen they are being viewed on. This means our websites pass Google's Mobile Friendly test, which is what the industry uses to make sure websites are compatible for mobile.
With the introduction of responsive design, this in turn has meant that minimalism is on the rise as a design trend. Keeping things much more simple, stripped back and easy to navigate is key for mobile/tablet users and it means people are looking at streamlining their websites when it comes to 2017. Usability has always been a top priority for building a successful website but now the focus is on the website working fluidly on all devices and screen sizes.
2. Refreshed Content
As a guideline, your content should be:
- good quality
Content is still king. With keywords and meta data taking a back seat when it comes to SEO, Google are on the prowl for content that hits the mark and that is refreshed on a regular basis.
This is why having an easy to use Content Management System is so important, and that's why at Toolkit Websites we always strive to make ours as effortless as possible. We provide full training sessions on how to use it too, so you can always have a refresher session on how to work things.
A website redesign is the perfect time to have a think about re-evaluating your content and the message you want to give. It might be that you need to change your strategy or tweak it to make sure it resonates with your target audience. Over time, the needs of your target audience will and can change.
Call to actions and navigation
Look at your website as if YOU are the customer or client. What are you looking for? Did you find it easily? Is the valuable information in strategic places on the website or did you have to do some searching for it? Can people access your contact details quickly and without issue? Does all the functionality work as it should? How does it look on your computer and on other devices?
This is all about putting yourself in the end users shoes, and looking at your website from a different view point. Having simplistic and easy navigation, and call to action buttons is as important as ever.
Video is one of the most popular media types of 2016/17. Creating useful, entertaining and good quality videos for your business and putting them on a Youtube or Vimeo channel is really beneficial.
Video is easy to watch and take in, which is favoured over a block of text to read and digest. Where possible try and condense any text, but if you feel it's integral to have that information on the website, consider putting a video together or an infographic to make it easier and more enjoyable to read.
Have a clear digital strategy
Specifying your business vision, setting your goals and updating targets should be something you do on a regular basis. Your website can be the central hub of your digital marketing plan. It can be where people access all of your social media accounts, joining the dots so that people can access anything they need to view from one place. It's important that they work together, and that you incorporate other channels into your strategy rather than relying solely on the website itself.
To stay relevant when it comes to your website, it always makes sense to revisit your website design every few years. Why? The web design industry changes - quickly. New trends come and go. Some stick around (like responsive design) and some don't (gradients and side bars!) Nonetheless, it makes sense to have your finger on the pulse. And if you're not entirely sure where to start, this is where your web design company comes in. As experts in our field, we are aware of the latest website technology and functionality and are always here to suggest, inform and share our knowledge.
That is what we are here for. Why not get in touch today to discuss changes to your website, or setting up a new website entirely this year? We're happy to have a chat through any questions you might have.